Fascinating Conspiracies (Episode 1) – The Lincoln Conspirators…

October 21, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes it is difficult to determine if a person really is a philosopher. So it is with the author of the profound statement, “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you”. Philosophical or lyrical, it is the perfect jumping off point for a short series on more obscure conspiracies in American History.  Sure, we have all heard of John Wilks Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald.  Perhaps we have even heard of George Atzerodt, who conspired with Booth to assassinate Lincoln and Johnson however, there are others that will most defiantly leave you a bit slack-jawed if not curious. To begin our series, let’s start with our 16th President and those who colluded to bring about his demise. Booth’s main conspirators, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Lewis Powell and Mary Surratt had their own press coverage, even if they were not quite as infamous as the malicious actor Booth, but reading their confessions and stories can bring this horrific event into clearer focus.  So, hopefully you will enjoy reading these Lincoln Conspiracy issues… and, until next time, remember the wise words of Kurt Cobain and keep looking over your shoulder.

A Thankful Heart from the Mouth of Babes…

September 20, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes an image perfectly captures an emotion or a moment in time. Sometimes that moment is in the present but sometimes it won’t be noticed for decades. Recently, as I was putting together issues for one of our collectors, I came across an image on the front of a Harper’s Weekly dated January 4, 1902 which was that perfect snapshot. Our culture seems to have gotten murky and a bit hard to decipher at times., but on the front of the photo of a little boy captured the simplicity of his life. He was thankful for a man who had sacrificed greatly to make his life better. Perhaps, as a way to cut through the muck and mire of our time, a thankful heart is just what our culture… what we… what I need.

Happy Flag Day!

June 14, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

Happy Flag Day, compliments of Harper’s Weekly and your friends at Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers… History’s Newsstand.

History’s Hidden Gems… President Lincoln, July 4th, 1861…

June 7, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” ~ George Santayana or, as we history buffs like to say, “Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it”.

Lately, I have developed a bit of an obsession with Abraham Lincoln. I am sure there are many who would chuckle and say, “what took her so long?” Granted, I knew all the Lincoln Basics. I have helped my 6 children memorize the Gettysburg Address. I have stood more than once, for more time than my companions were comfortable, gazing in awe at each word on the Lincoln Memorial. But most recently I’ve been struck with wonder when I come across the more obscure, hidden treasures of our 16th President. . . overcome with a sense that his insights into his times may be equally applicable to mine. This last week I heard someone mention a portion of President Lincoln’s speech before Congress on July 4th, 1861. I have shared a portion of it below so you can make your determination as to whether his call to see beyond the surface events, to the heart of the matter, is as relevant today as it was then. If you agree, then we should be a people who remembers our past so we do not repeat it and for those fellow Lincoln lovers out there, let’s keep digging for his more obscure hidden gems.

“It might seem at first thought to be of little difference whether the present movement at the South be called “secession” or “rebellion.” The movers, however, well understand the difference. At the beginning they knew they could never raise their treason to any respectable magnitude by any name which implies violation of law. They knew their people possessed as much of moral sense, as much of devotion to law and order, and as much pride in and reverence for the history and Government of their common country as any other civilized and patriotic people. They knew they could make no advancement directly in the teeth of these strong and noble sentiments. Accordingly, they commenced by an insidious debauching of the public mind. They invented an ingenious sophism, which, if conceded, was followed by perfectly logical steps through all the incidents to the complete destruction of the Union. The sophism itself is that any State of the Union may consistently with the National Constitution, and therefore lawfully and peacefully , withdraw from the Union without the consent of the Union or of any other State. The little disguise that the supposed right is to be exercised only for just cause, themselves to be the sole judge of its justice, is too thin to merit any notice.
With rebellion thus sugar coated they have been drugging the public mind of their section for more than thirty years, and until at length they have brought many good men to a willingness to take up arms against the Government the day after some assemblage of men have enacted the farcical pretense of taking their State out of the Union who could have been brought to no such thing the day before .” ~ Abraham Lincoln, July 4th, 1861

 

A Fly on the Wall at Lincoln’s Cooper Union Speech…

March 11, 2021 by · Leave a Comment 

How often have we all said, “I wish I could have been a fly on the wall.”? This week, as I helped a customer with an order, I was struck again with how often that statement is uttered here in our RareNewspapers office. This gentleman was beside himself over an issue we had obtained covering Abraham Lincoln’s Cooper Speech (see image below). Hearing him excitedly describe the content soon grabbed my imagination as well. As I finished his order and set the phone back into the cradle, I dug in to find any additional issues we may might still have highlighting this historic speech. Reading aloud (yet quietly to myself), I was transported to the scene. Follow me for a few moments to this history defining moment in time, picking up at the end of William Cullen Bryant’s (American poet & editor of the NEW YORK EVENING POST) introduction of this great American Hero…

“‘I have only to pronounce his name to secure your profoundest attention’ [Prolonged applause, and cheers for Lincoln]. Mr. Lincoln advanced to the desk, and smiling graciously upon his audience, complacently awaited the termination of the cheering and then proceeded with his address as follows…”. What followed was the speech that triggered Lincoln’s famous quote: “Another Republican Orator on the Stump.”

So many current phrases could be used to describe this moment in time: “A Star is Born”, “For Such a Time as This”… but for me, all I could think of was, “I wish I could have been a fly on the wall”, and I’m so grateful to the THE NEW YORK TIMES reporter who helped me to be one on February 28, 1860.

Earliest Lincoln letter published in a newspaper?

December 14, 2020 by · Leave a Comment 

Finding the earliest mention of notable people in period newspapers, long before they would become national figures, is a quest of many. Such nuggets–when found–can become treasured pieces for any collection.
We recently discovered what, by our research, is the earliest letter signed by Lincoln to appear in a newspaper. The “New York Weekly Tribune” of July 8, 1848 printed a letter signed A. Lincoln from when he was a representative from Illinois in the national legislature (see photos).In our 44 years of experience this is the earliest we have encountered. One would think letters may have appeared in his local Springfield, Illinois newspaper but lacking the holdings to do such research we can only speculate.

Are any collectors out there aware of an earlier published letter signed by Lincoln? Let the collecting world know!

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Nine…

November 27, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

Sometimes rabbit trails lead to revised destinations – particularly those that meander through the annals of history.  This week is a big deal on the US calendar because of colonists and survival and a heritage of gratitude…and I am a person full of thanks this year, as I have been much of my life.

I obtained permission from Guy to be a bit personal in my post, which he graciously granted, but a communication with a favorite collector in NYC derailed my reflection.  Ms. P told me about Evacuation Day, which commemorated the rousting of the British troops from their occupation of New York City following this nation’s fight for independence from England.  I had never heard of the liberation of NYC, let alone the celebrations that occurred annually until Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation co-opted the seasonal celebrations.  To be honest, I had never considered the duration of conflict following the 1776 declaration.  Anyway, this information came to light in a peripheral way, and the collector who brought it to our attention, attended this year’s anniversary hoopla in the city that was liberated.

It’s a privilege to learn from the staff here, as well as those who are ordering papers.  The collecting community is made up of a broad spectrum of interest and study, and I get to glean from the riches that move through the Rare and Early Newspapers archives.

I am thankful for the people who envisioned the United States of America — this great experiment.  I am thankful for those who kept their convictions through a long, wearying stretch of conflict, and I am thankful for families and communities who continued to manage the stuff of life through the political upheaval.

If you have some time over the upcoming holiday, our catalog is much more fascinating than any Black Friday special.  Whether you find the perfect gift for yourself or another, the time spent perusing the pages is a treat all by itself.

Cheers!

I’m New Here: Week Thirty-Six…

November 1, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

This week I discovered another section of the archives previously unexplored — actually, I didn’t even realize it was there.

The walls in these connected buildings are shelved from floor to ceiling, as are the aisles and corridors.  Inside those rigid 15′ dividers are movable racks that provide another layer of coordinates for filing archival folders of old and rare newspapers.  It was here, highlighted by the angle of the tag, that I saw the title and date of voices for abolition.  The Liberator  issues that are housed here go as late as 1865, but I was interested in the ones that preceded the Emancipation Proclamation. What was being written and discussed by this publication from the “Anti-Slavery Office” in Boston in 1859?  What was the tone prior to that April bombardment that marked the start of the Civil War?

The rag paper is full-sized (“folio”, in fact) and consists of four pages, mostly devoted to telling the stories of injustice and accounts that should provoke outrage.  Headed by an illustration intricately representing people divided into groups based on the color of their skin, a banner curves along the bottom proclaiming, “THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF” while a sign above a wooden structure crowded with human beings advertises, “Slaves, Horses & Other Cattle In Lots To Suit Purchase.”  I feel the effectiveness of the graphics, of the pleading tone in the “Letter to Southern Ladies” and the headline which queries, “Shall Massachusetts Be Slave-Hunting Soil?”  But what surprises me the most in this new acquaintance was the attitude toward the forerunner of Abraham Lincoln.  A full front-page column is headed “PRESIDENTIAL FALSIFICATIONS”, and pulls no punches in its criticism of James Buchanan’s avoidance of the situation with the Free State Men of Kansas and the powerful politicians whose support of Slavery  led to an effort summarized with, “The Missourians openly exulted in the sure prospect they had of making Kansas a slave state, in spite of the Free State men.”

I am looking forward to delving into the dates that discuss the events that followed — in all the permutations and compromises and regrets and triumphs.  And I can’t help but wonder how much of a change anyone could have honestly expected after such a long period of such passionate division.

Snapshot 1862… Civil War inner-family strife takes its aim at Lincoln…

June 11, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from The Crisis, Columbus, Ohio, dated May 7, 1862, which printed the death report of Abraham Lincoln’s brother-in-law, and includes considerable Lincoln-directed angst.

 

Snapshot 1864… Washington and Lincoln for President…

August 20, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

The following snapshot comes from the New York Tribune, November 11, 1864…

 

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